Packing shoes is always a bit of a challenge for me. If they are at all dirty, I feel I need to take the extra time (who has extra time?!) to wash them before packing. If they have heels, I'm always worried the heels will snag other items and so have to take extra time (see above) to plan what to put on top of the shoes in my suitcase. Instead, why not whip up a few of these quick and easy shoe bags. The bag is sized to fit a standard pair of women's shoes with a generous heel. The inside is soft fleece, which is gentle on leather and helps protect a shiny or embellished finish, such as beading or sequins. From the outside, there's no worry about what to pack on top. A little extra time today to make these cute bags saves a lot of extra time packing down the line.
These bags would also be great to store shoes you don't wear often, protecting them in your closet from dust and damage.
Our Travel Accessories series is sponsored by Free Spirit Fabrics, as part of our Artist Trio Series introducing Anna Maria Horner's amazing Loulouthi fabric collection. You can find Loulouthi at Fat Quarter Shop, CityCraft, Fashionable Fabrics, and Fabric.com.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome DC2011)
Fabric and Other Supplies
- ½ yard of 44-45" wide print fabric for the bottom exterior of the bag: we used Loulouthi Buoyancy in AH40-Butterberry
- ½ yard of 44-45" wide print fabric for the top exterior of the bag and flange accent: we used Loulouthi Stockings in AH44 -Foxtrot
NOTE: You could probably get by with ⅓ yard of each print fabric. Our cuts are 12", which is exactly ⅓ yard. However, we like to add a bit extra for fussy cutting. It also depends on which direction your motif runs - if you can cut horizontally, you could even get by with just ¼ yard for the bottom exterior cuts.
- ⅓ yard of 55-60" wide fleece for the lining of the bag: we used WinterFleece Micro Chamois in Chocolate fabric.com
NOTE: As above this is more than you need. If you have some fleece on hand that is a good color match, you may be able to get away with a scrap. You'll need to be able to cut a 12" x 23" piece.
- Two ¼" grommets with a grommet tool plus a soft hammer
- 1 yard of 1/8" soft twisted cord: we used black
- 1 cord stop for 1/8" cord: we used Dritz drawstring cord stops
- Seam sealant
- All purpose thread to match fabric
- See-through ruler
- Seam gauge
- Fabric marker, pen, or tailor's chalk for marking fabric
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Straight pins
- Small safety pin
- From the fabric for bottom exterior (Loulouthi Butterberry in our sample), cut TWO 4" high x 12" wide rectangles.
- From the fabric for the top exterior and flange (Loulouthi Fox Trot in our sample), cut the following
TWO 11" high x 12" wide rectangles
TWO 2" x 12" strips fussy cut to create an interesting flange reveal
- From the fabric for the lining (chocolate fleece in our sample), cut ONE 23" x 12" rectangle.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Fold the fleece lining right sides together matching all the raw edges. Pin in place along both sides.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch both sides (the 11½" sides). Leave the top open.
- Set aside.
- Press one 2" x 12" strip in half (so it is now 1" x 12'), wrong sides together.
NOTE: Printed fabric is not always 100% straight and true, especially things such as long, narrow stripes. If you run into this problem, you can cheat a little with your ironing to get a straight folded edge.
- Place this folded strip (the flange) on the right side of one top exterior piece along its bottom edge. Align the raw edges so the folded edge of the flange faces up. Make sure you have the flange placed so its "best side" is facing up - the fussy cut side you want to show as the finished flange.
- Place one bottom exterior piece over the flange, aligning the top edge of this piece with the bottom edge of the other print fabric piece, and sandwiching the flange in between. Your two print fabrics should be right sides together. Pin through all layers.
- Stitch together, using a ½" seam allowance.
- Open the assembled piece wrong side up on your ironing board. Press the flange up towards the top panel and the seam allowance down towards the bottom panel.
- Flip over and top stitch, very close to the seam within the bottom panel fabric (the Loulouthi Butterberry in our sample). This secures the seam allowance in place. Press again from the right side.
- Repeat to create the second exterior piece.
- On one finished exterior piece, you will place two grommets as the entrance and exit points for your drawstring cord.
- To find the correct placement, first fold the exterior piece in half to find the exact center. Mark this point with a fabric pencil or a pin.
- Measure 2½" down from the top raw edge along this center line and draw a horizontal line. It doesn't have to go all the way across the fabric - about 4" in length is fine.
- Measure 1" up from this line and draw another parallel horizontal line, again about 4" in length is fine.
- The grommets should be centered within this 1" channel, one on either side of the center line. I think it's easiest to place the actual grommets on the fabric and use both my seam gauge and my eyes to center. I decided the inside edges of the grommets should be about ½" from the center line within a stripe motif.
- Once you have them centered as you like, use your fabric pencil to trace the center of the grommets.
- Use these center marks as your guide, and follow the grommet package direction to insert.
NOTE: I know "follow the package directions" sounds like a big of a cop-out, but grommets really are quite easy to insert. In general, you cut out the center marks that you made with a pair of small sharp scissors, push the bottom of the grommet in place from front to back, place the top of the grommet on the bottom (it should kind of 'click' into place), slide the base of the grommet tool (the 'anvil') into place under the grommet, insert the post of the grommet tool into the center of the top of the grommet, and gently whack to weld the top onto the bottom. We used grommets on our Father's Day Tool Tub & Tote if you'd like to review these tutorials as well before trying it on your own.
NOTE: If you don't the idea of grommets, you could use one long horizontal buttonhole instead.
Complete exterior and make draw cord casing
- Pin the two exterior pieces right sides together, matching all the raw edges.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at both bottom corners. Leave the top open.
- Clip the corners at a diagonal.
- Press the top raw edge under ½" all the way around.
- Then, fold down and press again 1", creating a 1" hem, which will become the casing.
- Turn the exterior bag right side out. Gently poke out the corners so they are nice and sharp.
- Find your lining. Turn it wrong side out.
- Slip the lining inside the exterior bag; the lining and the exterior should now be wrong sides together with that nice soft fleece showing. Push the lining down into the bag so the corners match.
- Tuck the lining under the exterior bag's top folded hem. It should extend under the folded edge of the hem approximately ½".
- Pin in place all the way around so the top raw edge of the lining is completely encased.
- Stitch all the way around 7/8" from the top folded edge of the opening. Using this top folded edge as your guide is the surest way to end up with a nice straight and even seam along the front of the bag. If you have pressed and measured accurately to make the casing, there should be no problem catching the hem along the inside. The 7/8" width of the casing also allows you to just clear the bottom of the grommets with your presser foot.
- Wrap one end of the cotton cord with tape to keep it from fraying, then attach a small safety pin to this same end.
- Thread the pin and cord through one grommet, around the casing until it comes out the opposite grommet.
- Trim the cording tails if need be. I made sure my cording tails hung down to the bottom of the bag when the bag was flat. Tie a knot in the end of each cording tail and apply a dot of seam sealant.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Liz Johnson
Other machines suitable for this project include the Elna 5300 and the Bernina 380.